NorCal FJs follow Tread Lightly! principles and
outdoor ethics at all times. Please familiarize yourself with the
TREAD principles below.
Travel responsibly on designated roads, trails or
in areas open to four-wheel drive
safety, travel straight up or down
not around obstacles to avoid widening the
ruts, gullies, and washouts even if they are wider than your
streams only at designated fording points, where the road crosses
possible, avoid mud. In soft terrain, go easy on the gas to avoid
wheel spin, which can cause rutting.
around on narrow roads, steep terrain, or unstable ground. Back up
until you find a safe place to turn
frequently and scout ahead on foot. To help with traction, balance
your load and lower tire pressure to where you see a bulge
(typically not less than 20 pounds).
the differential or the lowest point on your vehicle is. This will
help in negotiating terrain and prevent vehicle damage resulting in
oil and fluid spills on the trail.
reasonable distance between vehicles.
all signs and respect barriers.
a group of two or more vehicles. Driving solo can leave you
vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting
areas in case of separation.
appropriate winch for your vehicle size.
towing cable, tree strap, or chain as low as possible to the object
being winched. Let the winch do the work; never drive the
winching always inspect your equipment, use the right winch for the
situation, find a good secure anchor, and never winch with less
than five wraps of wire rope around the
a tree as an anchor, use a wide tree strap to avoid damaging the
trunk of the tree.
driving with alcohol or drugs.
THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS
Respect the rights of others, including private
property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others
so they can enjoy their recreational activities
considerate of others on the road or
as you find them. If crossing private property, be sure to ask
permission from the landowner(s).
right of way to those passing you ratraveling uphill. Yield to
mountain bikers, hikers, and horses.
encountering horses on the trail, move to the side of the trail,
stop, turn off your engine, and speak—you want the horse to know
you are human. Ask the rider the best way to
with caution around horses and pack animals. Sudden, unfamiliar
activity may spook animals—possibly causing injury to animals,
handlers, and others on the trail.
Do not idly
ride around in camping, picnicking, trailhead, or residential
low around crowds and in camping areas.
noise and dust down.
Educate yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps
and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip,
taking recreation skills classes, and knowing how to operate your
map—motor vehicle use map where appropriate—of your destination and
determine which areas are open to off-highway
realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel
land manager for area restrictions, closures, and permit
weather forecast before you go. Prepare for the unexpected by
packing necessary emergency items.
Seat belts are mandatory. Know your limitations. Watch your time,
your fuel, and your energy.
off-highway drivers course to learn more about negotiating terrain
in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Make sure your
vehicle is mechanically up to task. Be prepared with tools,
supplies, spares, and a spill kit for trailside
Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores,
wetlands and streams. Stay on designated
habitats to avoid include living desert soils, tundra, and seasonal
nesting or breeding areas.
Do not disturb
historical, archeological, or paleontological
livestock and wildlife you encounter and keep your
mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness
your part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better
than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use
of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species, and restoring
trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by
what you pack in. Practice minimum impact camping by using
established sites, camping 200 feet from water resources and
proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste
soundscape by preventing unnecessary noise created by a poorly
tuned vehicle or revving your engine.
after a ride, wash your vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive
Build a trail
community. Get to know other types of recreationists that share
your favorite trail.